Captivatingly strange, the work of Aya Kakeda is a world unto itself

Often wildly surreal and intricate, Kakeda's work is a visual cacophony of weird and wonderful characters, bizarre landscapes, and at times almost meditative calm. Aya kindly took some time to tell us more about her work and provide some insight into what inspires her.

Hi, I’m Aya Kakeda. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, I moved to the United States when I was 16, moving around Florida and Georgia, before settling to live in Brooklyn, New York. I first learned about illustration at art school in Georgia. I thought it was the perfect direction for me. I’d always loved drawing and story-telling, ever since I was a kid in fact. I’ve now grown into an artist / illustrator, with quite a broad and experimental approach spanning illustration, fine art, comic book design, toy design, ceramics, and pattern design. I’m also really passionate about teaching.

‘Bali dream’, 2013, Brooklyn, acrylic gouache on wood

‘Head-dress’, 2013, Brooklyn, acrylic gouache on wood

Having a studio away from home really helps me; its a healthy change of scene! It has a huge open space with natural light, with a wide variety of artists working alongside one another. It’s a very inspirational space.

Aya Kakeda

I have a home studio at my place in Brooklyn, where I tend to do most of my illustration and painting, and a shared sculpture studio in LIC. Having a studio away from home really helps me; its a healthy change of scene! It has a huge open space with natural light, with a wide variety of artists working alongside one another, including ceramicists, designers and sculptors. It’s a very inspirational space.

Since visiting Bali, and experiencing the jungle, my paintings have become increasingly more  detailed. I love painting nature and creating surreal and mysterious creatures. I love experimenting with different materials and like to expand in different directions. A few years ago I started making ceramic sculptures, that in turn inspired my commercial works.

‘Unicorn’, 2016, Brooklyn, ceramic, plastic, house paint, glaze,

I’m quite a traditionalist when it comes to how I create. My studio really is a mess… but then all of my work comes out of the chaos. If I had to summarise, I mainly stick to sketchbooks, pens, inks, brushes, acrylic gouache, resin, air-dry clay, glazes, tools for sculpting and masking tapes.

Aya Kayeda

I don’t really think that have a distinction between my work and my hobby’s. I generally really like be creative. I’d happily just sit in a studio in my spare time and make 100 tiny ceramic mice…that would make me super happy. Other than creating…I love eating! I watch a lot of films, walking around and exploring the city, going to museums, and thrift shopping. My guilty pleasure is trying to eek out elusive discount deals. (I can’t help it! It’s not exactly sexy I know, but I love deals!) I’m also currently learning Italian. I wanted to learn a second language. I’m super excited about it.

I’m quite a traditionalist when it comes to how I create. My studio really is a mess… but then all of my work comes out of the chaos. If I had to summarise, I mainly stick to sketchbooks, pens, inks, brushes, acrylic gouache, resin, air-dry clay, glazes, tools for sculpting and masking tapes.

‘Cat Lady’, 2016 Brooklyn, ceramic

‘Microchan World’, 2014, Brooklyn, acrylic gouache on wood

I find my inspiration in many different books, but if I had to select three…I’d say: “100m no kanko” by Keiichi Tanaami, “The Wonderland’s Heritage” by Kenji Saito, and “Kuniyoshi no Kyoga” by Shinichi Inagaki.

Later this year – possibly early 2018 – I’m planning to launch a ceramics store. I’m currently spending a lot of time making many plaster mold’s, slip casting, and hand glazing ceramic sculptures. They include sleeping cat sculptures with mice inside of their stomachs, ceramic ravens carrying secret messages, a cat shaped planter, and other small ceramic animals. The whole process really is great fun, from designing, production, to packaging.

www.ayakakeda.com

Instagram: @ayakakeda

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Posted on Jan 10th, 18 by | Twitter: @inkygoodness

Adam joined Inkygoodness in 2016 and is now a director of the company, working closely alongside founder and creative director Lisa Hassell. He is one of the main contributors to the site, and as editor-in-chief, the first point of contact for artist submissions.

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